Ruto UDA party bags 5,700 aspirants

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Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has bagged 5,700 aspirants ahead of its nominations slated for next month.

The party’s primaries will be held on April 9-16 in areas where seats have attracted more than one aspirant.

“The party wishes to inform its aspirants that the National Elections Board (NEB) will carry out nominations in all areas where more than one aspirant has shown interest,” said board chairperson Anthony Mwaura in a press release on Wednesday.

The Jubilee Party had cleared 7,893 aspirants to contest various seats in primaries in 2017.

Jubilee collected Sh622 million from nomination fees while ODM received Sh195 million ahead of the 2017 General Election.

Jubilee has pocketed over Sh350 million in fees from nominations that ended earlier this month.

The deputy presidents party also  rejected zoning with other political parties under the Kenya Kwanza alliance saying that it would field candidates across the country.

Mr Mwaura hinted that despite working with Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford Kenya of Moses Wetang’ula, Chama Cha Kazi of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri’s The Service Party (TSP) and Tujibebe Wakenya Party of William Kabogo, the party will not entertain zoning.

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“The party wishes to inform its aspirants that the National Elections Board (NEB) will carry out nominations in all areas where more than one aspirant has shown interest,” said Mr Mwaura.

This comes even as it emerges that there is push and pull in Kenya Kwanza to hand exclusive rights to ANC, Ford Kenya and other parties to field candidates in Western and Mount Kenya.

The zoning formula hands Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia counties to the ANC and Ford-Kenya and bars UDA, the principal member of the coalition, from fronting candidates for seats other than the presidency. 

UDA also urged its contenders to continue with their campaigns without succumbing to what they call state-sponsored intimidation.

“All aspirants should continue with their campaigns across the country and not allow intimidations from any quota to interfere with their political dreams,” said Mr Mwaura.

The call comes days after the party accused the state of planning to orchestrate violence during its primaries next month.

“They have also told aspirants there will be widespread state-orchestrated violence during UDA nominations in the Mt Kenya region and therefore it was in the aspirants’ interest to defect to Jubilee,” Mr Mwaura said.

In other counties like Kiambu and Murang’a, the party says money is being used to influence aspirants to defect from UDA.

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“Aspirants are being lured with money to decamp from UDA and if they fail to change their political allegiance, they are threatened with arrest and taken to court on fictitious charges,” Mr Mwaura alleged.

The party accused Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and some senior administrative officials in the national government of trying to frustrate UDA candidates.

“We remind commissioners and their puppet masters that the people of Mt Kenya have already decided the political direction they want to follow and the aspirants are just responding to the wishes of the people,” Mr Mwaura said.

“Jubilee is on its deathbed and no amount of threats and coercion will resuscitate the party.”

He added: “In Nyamira and Kisii, (Dr Matiang’i) has been intimidating UDA aspirants and denying them permission to hold public meetings. The aspirants live in fear because the CS, through the provincial administration, has ensured that they are constantly harassed.”

He claimed that some of the people targeted in the latest plan are Kilifi Woman Representative Aisha Jumwa, who is running for governor, and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, also a gubernatorial aspirant.

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Others, he said, are Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba, who wants to contest the Githunguri parliamentary seat, and Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru, who is vying for the Laikipia East seat.

He alleged that these politicians’ billboards had been vandalised.

“The choice to belong to a political party one wishes to be in is protected by the Constitution and arrests and intimidation should not be used to persuade aspirants to join a political formation they do not want,” he said.

The party assured its aspirants that it was ready to defend them whenever they are arrested.

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